Complements in grammar, may they seem like objects?


He seemed hasty.

Is hasty a complement, perhaps a verb complement, to seemed? There is no noun in the object position. May hasty be understood as an object here, to get a complete sentence?


Posted 2015-05-19T00:15:10.453

Reputation: 1 656

3Would you please ask a question about what the verb seem means and when to use it in a sentence? And how seem is different from is? Because you need to understand this concept. – None – 2015-05-19T02:28:10.883



An object is a kind of complement—a piece of the sentence which "completes" the meaning of the verb. A "complete sentence" does not necessarily require either an object (a Direct Object or Indirect Object) or any other kind of complement; it depends on what verb is employed.

Some verbs require at least one object. We call these transitive, from Latin transire, "go across", because the action of the verb "goes across" to the object: the object "receives" the action. Some of these take both an object and a complement; appoint, for instance, and make in some of its many senses:

The president appointed [DIRECT OBJECThim] [COMPLEMENTprofessor].
Brian made [DIRECT OBJECTme] [COMPLEMENTreally angry].

With these verbs, the complement is usually a nominal which identifies the object or an adjectival which describes it.

Other verbs, which we call intransitive, do not require an object. Some of these, like be, become, seem require a complement, which is usually a nominal which identifies the subject or an adjectival which describes it.

He is angry.
He has become a prominent man.

Others, however, do not require even a complement; verbs like run and talk designate activities which are self-contained.

He is running.
He talked for several minutes.

Note that many verbs have both transitive and intransitive senses. Run, for instance, is intransitive in the sentence above; but it may also be used transitively, as when we speak of running a marathon or running a company.

StoneyB on hiatus

Posted 2015-05-19T00:15:10.453

Reputation: 176 469

I guess I maybe thought a "complete sentence" contained a noun. I guess I thought nouns seem objects, direct or maybe indirect. In "Brian made me really angry". Brian (subject?), made (verb [transitive]?), me (noun, object?), I don't think that may get a complete sentence, maybe, so, angry (adjective [complement]?), (adjectival complement[?])

I maybe used an intransitive verb? "He seemed hasty" seems a complete sentence. – saySay – 2015-05-19T01:21:59.593

1@saySay This is very complicated, particularly if your own language does things differently. Think of it this way: A "complete sentence" consists of 1) a verb. This may be one word or many, as in "was going" or "has been going". 2) the verb's arguments. These are the specific pieces which that particular verb requires. Different verbs require different numbers of arguments, of different kinds; and those arguments, again, may be single words or very long phrases. But all verbs require at least one argument: 2a) a subject. (... continuing ... ) – StoneyB on hiatus – 2015-05-19T01:52:35.150

1The subject is a "nominal", a word or set of words which plays the role of a noun. A nominal may be a single noun, or a noun with its modifiers, or a pronoun, or even a clause: a kind of sub-sentence which cannot stand by itself. 2b) Many verbs have more arguments; these are called complements. Complements which "receive" the "action" of the verb are called objects, and these, too, are nominals. But there are many complements which are not objects; some of these are nominals, others are "adjectivals" (which are adjectives, or act like it) or preposition phrases. (..cont'd ..) – StoneyB on hiatus – 2015-05-19T02:08:17.733

I think I thought upon "He ran" ran 1) a verb, 2) argument of this verb, "He"? He, here, seems a pronoun so, maybe, a nominal. Interesting. I don't think I got anyone to aim to discern a complete sentence like this. I think this seems interesting. So, maybe, discerning like this, "He ran" may seem a complete sentence? – saySay – 2015-05-19T02:20:22.467

1What you have to keep in mind is that each verb has its own set of complement types and meanings. Some very common verbs, with many different meanings, even have several different sets of complements, depending on which meaning is intended. . . . So in the end you can't just say that a complete sentence consists of Subject-Verb-Object (which is only true sometimes) or that Subjects and Objects are nouns (which is only true in the simplest sentences) -- you have to know the entire range of arguments which each verb requires to analyze the sentence correctly. – StoneyB on hiatus – 2015-05-19T02:22:47.173

1@saySay Yes, you've got it! He ran is a complete sentence, because the only argument run requires when it means "move very fast with long strides" is a Subject. – StoneyB on hiatus – 2015-05-19T02:24:30.337

And in Brian made me angry the verb made takes 3 arguments: Subject (Brian), Object (me) and Object Complement (really angry), an adjective phrase -- we call it Object Complement because it describes the Object. This means "Brian caused me to become angry". Without the Object Complement (Brian made me) it would mean something completely different: "Brian caused me to exist". – StoneyB on hiatus – 2015-05-19T02:31:51.353

This seems interesting! It seems interesting to discern it like this! – saySay – 2015-05-19T02:35:25.553

@saySay Does it only seem interesting, or is it interesting? – None – 2015-05-19T02:39:47.760

Hello, StoneyB. May you place here where you got this information? May you place here grammar books you may have got this from, and, or, read? – saySay – 2016-02-03T03:44:12.147